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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recommending a First Motorcycle



1) What would you recommend as a “first” motorcycle for a newbie?



2) With a gazillion bikes to choose from, how would you advise a friend, new to the world of motorcycling, on which bike to purchase?



3) Should it be a used bike or a new one?



Here's what they say, with people's feedback: http://motorcycle-intelligence.com/first-motorbike/63/
 

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What an interesting and varied range of responses! Only one writer seemed to be in league with us in his choice of an old Honda. My first and second choices have been midsize Hondas; in fact, my first bike was a CB750, so I have allegedly stepped backward in getting a CX500 as my second bike. I think the CX will fulfill my purposes for owning a bike just fine!
 

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Obviously a newbie should learn on a lighter/smaller bike. You can pick up 250's fairly cheap on the used side. The issue to watch for with the small bikes, ie 250's, is that for most normal adults the bike is too small to physically ride properly. I rode a small 250 a couple of years ago and at 6 foot, it was nearly impossible for me to shift it.



The article you linked brings out a good point about buying a mid-size bike. They are small enough to learn on, but big enough so that you don;t need to run out and buy something bigger in just a few months (that is why you see so many of the used 250's for sale.



My best advice would be to first, have your friend take the local safety course, they usually provide bikes, ie 250's. That way he can see if he likes riding a 250 or not. Second, used is the way to go.



Finally, it doesn't matter how small you go, you still need to learn and even small ones can get away from you quick. I remember when I was 13 I had an old Honda 70cc and my dad wanted to "try" riding it in the back yard. He took off and lost control and stayed on with the throttle wide open until he plowed into the metal shed. He was fine, but man I sure wish we had video cameras back then.
 

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For my first bike I can say that my GL was certainly too big.



I think the Nighthawk 250 is the perfect beginners bike because;

you can pick one up used for around $500

They are light, manuverable, and have almost nothing to be broken when you drop it

and they arent as cramped as a rebel, or similar cruiser.



Plus small bikes are fun. I kinda wish I had a nighthawk sitting around to play around on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What an interesting and varied range of responses! Only one writer seemed to be in league with us in his choice of an old Honda. My first and second choices have been midsize Hondas; in fact, my first bike was a CB750, so I have allegedly stepped backward in getting a CX500 as my second bike. I think the CX will fulfill my purposes for owning a bike just fine!


I'd take a CX/GL over a CB750 any day. Almost bought one once until I gave it a test ride. Granted, I was used to smaller, lighter dirt bikes at the time but some of them weren't lacking at all in power.



The "starting midsize" has its points, but if one were serious AND had the money to do so I'd recommend a 250 as a starting point and if you had access to some trails I'd recommend one that was a dual-purpose machine - half enduro but still street legal. You can learn a lot "on the dirt" and it sure doesn't tear you (or the bike) up much at all if/when you dump it.
 

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I learned to ride on trail bikes. My first street bike was a Honda CB350 in the early 70's. I was living in inner city Denver at the time. The Honda was fast enough to hold it's own in the city, but small enough that the trail bike experience allowed me to concentrate on traffic rather than the bike. This saved my bacon a few times in the first couple weeks of riding, until the "riders sense" kicked in.
 

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Totally agree with Hobbit, learn to ride a trail bike for 3 months or so. Teaches balance, and shows how bikes will handle when locked up under brakes or wet roads. This experience is so valuable on the black top.



Also, in Australia, the learner licence used to be 250cc only (or less), but was changed because a bloke weighing 300 pounds looked silly on a 250, and was actually quite dangerous. So the laws were changed to include up to 649cc (I think) but a power to weight ratio is worked out as well.



Also a consideration is what riding you want to do. I used to ride GPz/FJ1100/GSX etc but now my tired old bones prefer the upright riding position and the cruiser style. Being cramped into the "racing position" for 4 hours on a bike isn't fun anymore.



my 10 cents.
 

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MY first bike was my GL. Class was on a NightHawk and I liked it.... I'd say used bike for the first one- but IDK as far as size... my 500 is plenty for right now
 

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Its almost a certainty that you are going to drop your bike at least once if you are a new rider. Probably in your driveway and it may ber something as silly as trying to balance while putting on your helmet(that was my first drop) so you might want to look at getting a used bike first. Just a thought.
 

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One side effect of having a restriction of 250cc was that the price of these bike was artificially high because every new rider/learner had to buy one.

Secondhand CB 250's were selling for nearly as much as new ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We still have the conditional license clause in our state that allows you to get a motorcycle license at the age of 14. Bike can't be over 125cc (used to be 100cc) and a few other things apply as well such as no passengers and a "curfew" as to how late you can be out riding.



Wasn't a bad idea as when it first came out it was relatively safe to ride a motorcycle on the road. Nowadays around here it's like playing Keno at Vegas trying to stay alive.
 

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I've seen alot of people geet rotten advise for a first bike. I friend of mine was told to buy the bike he wanted and then learn to ride it by his goldwing riding father in law. He got a giant suzuki cruiser. Rode it for a little while and crashed it taking a turn too hot. He went into the woods, scratched up the fenders, tank, and broke off mirrors and turn signals, and lots of tree branch rash, tee shirt, jeans, and NO HELMET. The bike was too big and he had no skills yet. He no longer rides. (He also is no longer married) Coincidence???



Whenever someone tells me they want a bike and are serious, first thing I tell them is to READ. There are lots of good books and magazines, then before buying your one first bike, take a rider course, and ride their bike. FL requires all riders to complete a course before being eligable to get a MC license, so why not get some saddle time and training before trying to wreck your own investment. The only other advise I have for a new rider is WEAR A HELMET, and cover up all the skin you want to keep with jacket, gloves, boots, and pants. If it's too hot to ride with the gear, don't ride. Oh yeah, and every driver on the road wants to kill you.
 

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There is a guy here at work who started out on a brand new victory 8-Ball.



I think that's completely retarted. Granted he still has it and never went down but why spend that much to accidentally f' it up.



I bought my bike used from a friend who had it at his house for 3 years. I still have my Kaw Triple 250 but I would probably get a different bike for newbies. That 2-stroke power kicks in and can take a while to get used to.



However I think I might let the gf learn on it, its small put still got enough power to keep up at 60-70. Beyond that's its a bit of leaning into the wind
 

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I think everybody needs to take the MSF course and learn on something small. At 6'2" the Nighthawk 250 was a little cramped, but was bearable and you could whip that thing around so easily.



As for a first bike, I'm just amazed at how many people will go out and buy a brand new 600+ cc sportbike as their first bike. That'll get you in to trouble real quick. I personally think something with <60hp is good enough, even for a fatass like me (260lbs), for a couple years.



Definitely go used at first. How many people get a brand new car as their first? (not to mention, how many people get a brand new high-powered sports car)



I haven't dropped the bike in the few months I've been riding. Came very close though (and at the police station to boot). Parked, dropped the stand, and got off the bike...not realizing I didn't kill the motor and it was still in 1st...letting go of the clutch caused it to jerk forward and collapse the stand and the bike started going down. That was a heavy one to keep upright, lol. But SO many people drop them in driveways and such, it's just not a great idea to get brand new (I see lots of nearly new bikes on CL with minor fairing damage, broken turn signal, or broken clutch lever...)
 

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My bike has fallen down twice, neither time with me on it. The first time I was taking the motor out and it fell over when the motor sprung free. The second time I went to take it off the sidestand by the left grip, and it came off in my hand. Almost saved it, but had to settle for lowering it lightly to the ground.
 

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This is not my first bike ever, but it has been many years since I was on one (Kawi 350 triple).

I still plan to take the MSC here:

First MSP
 

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I think everyone should learn to ride on a Mini Trail 50 before they are old enough to get a drivers lic. Monkey Bikes Rule!




HD dealers (at least used to) use buell blasts (500 thumper) for student training.




Personally, I'm glad My CX has come to me later in my riding experience... cause it may be the last bike I ever need.
 
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